Autumn

The leaves would grow where the leaves wished.
Under this light green would
pour down mountains
twist around waves
pattern into hair.
The weight of all carried the weight of all
resulting in a lightness which could only be felt
under
breath.

Nicole is tired.
She sleeps in silk sheets in a Habitat home.
She spends the days in suits,
and at six drinks a G and T with an extra
shot
then another.
Nicole cannot sleep because something has crawled into bed next to her.
It rustles its head when she shows it her Prada bag,
clicks its tongue at her honeymoon photos,
falls to the floor at sight of her retirement plan.
It keeps point and pointing
telling her to look harder.

What was to be remembered buried into the leaf.
And down the vine each leaf
held this remembrance.
And so the vine remembered.
Each leaf that caught sight of another winked;
and that leaf remembered too.

He takes drugs and listens to Pink Floyd.
He couldn’t tell you when he started doing this,
or why.
But its purpose is not recreational.

Above the leaves walks the she wolf.

Jay wears her hair braided,
socks to the knees, and a smile of the bush.
She is at school in Harlem.
In lockered corridors her eyes see vines,
faint, encircling school books and prom kings.
In classrooms she is told to forget such sights.

The world stopped tending to the leaves.
A new plant came of power and coin.
The vines pulled back:
amnesia.

He tries to go cold; stacking shelves; promised mum.
He tries, and now he buys organic.
He tries, and recycles his paper.
He tries, and on the weekends can’t keep of the ketamine.
He cries, a baby in the shower
leaves clogging the drain.

When the light returned the leaves started to rustle,
breathe,
grow.
And people felt the breeze.

Jay has seen what she has seen.
She stands for the leaves.
Throwing them into backyards, politics and the media.
Her crown is that of vines.

Above the leaves walks the she wolf.

When Nicole remembers
she will sleep like silk
light in the weight of it all.

Leaves in the city
brushed under buses and etching evening.
Leaves over waves, in height, under hand.
Their scent is that of love
ancient and divine
and people are remembering.

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Board Room

There is a child. There is a classroom.
The two don’t coalesce.
Remember when you used to wake to the heartbeats of giants and chase them around the house with cardboard armour?
Remember – – silence please.
Such behaviour is not warranted in the world.

Busy Men

I’m gunna be a busy man
Like the busy men you see being busy on BBC
But not a bad busy man
I’ll do good things with my busy words
I’ll be the busy man to help the un-busy people

He’s back
Slouched in chair, Tiger in hand
He’s flicking
TV clicking
He’s the king
With his Tesco mobile ring

Ma’s in the car
Orange, red, white
White, red, orange
The tiger’s eyes beaming
The garage cage gleaming
TJ’s car’s round the corner
Ma won’t know he’s back

Click, click, lock in key
Thud, thud, boots off
Tesco bags ruffle
She stops, just before the TV light, so she’s
Hidden
She can sense it:
Boots still on
Fizzle of a can
King to her princess

Ma tucks me in
Every light off
‘Read me a rhyme’
‘Not tonight little man’
‘Come on Ma, come on’
‘Ma’s got’a make TJ some chicken’
TJ, T-J
Closing door, then, just head
‘Did you let him in?’
‘Sorry Ma.’
Bang, ring, silence
Hidden

Resonating ringing
Circling screaming
Sudden smash
Bone in crash
Teddy safe, pillow clinging

Ma’s eye’s gone black
Not brown black
Black black
My eggs are all wrong

TJ’s phone’s on the table
His jacket on the chair
There’s a dirty plantain plate sinking
He’s staying, this time

Swing-ing, swing-ing, smack
Smack, smack, swing
Swing-ing, swing-ing
Crack
Stick’s broken

TJ, T-J
Why don’t I call him Pa?

Ma says you got’a be a brave man
A brave busy man
You got’a say when it’s not right
You got’a say, or things’ll never be right
Just like cleaning the dirty egg pan

Maybe the chicken boiled

It’s five, the sun’s up but the pillow’s up
I got some chicken rice n’ peas
Ma says I got’a stay in my room tonight
Read the rhymes
Read ‘em quiet

TJ’s voice is loud
Boom, boom, booming
Ma’s voice’s screeching
Screech, screech, screeching
TJ’s voice is louder
TJ’s voice wins this battle of beats
Beat, beat, beat
Beat, beat, beat
Black and red

Red and black
Like that plane last night
Black and red
Red and black
Like her last night

Dribble, dribble, dab
Dab, dab, dribble
Dribble, dribble
Drop
Ma’s leaking

I thought TJ would go last night
Ma thought TJ would go last night:
She didn’t make him any chicken
TJ didn’t go last night
TJ wants his throne

Tesco bags ruffle
In goes teddy, no pillow
PJ’s go in, no rhymes
‘Ma?’
‘Put your shoes on little man’
‘Ma?’
‘We’re just busy people and-‘
‘Busy people have busy places to be’
‘That’s it.’
Why do busy people have to run from lazy places?

Vroom, vroom, vroom
Ruffle, squish, ruffle
Click

TJ will have to make his own chicken
In our palace

Ma says he’s got to learn to be a busy man
Not a bad busy bag-o-wire
But a busy man
To help the un-busy people

lightning

I love you. Said the leaf on the windowsill caught
by the still light of air.
I love you. Screamed the chair facing the television
playing yankees v red sox

I love you. I love you. I love you.
God damn
it. can’t you hear how my shadow trips to tell you

Love is the mellow of sunlight which washes stars of their shine
and I to you
beam with it.

Bakerloo

She’d always known it would be you.
Known before she’d known what knowing was.
Born in some inaudible breath
something had noticed her;
written her name on a future
written her name on a name
a name she was only just hearing
now
here.
Under the Bakerloo sign directing to Waterloo.
Here.
Amidst faces leaving and coming and arriving and leaving was
you,
smiling on a breath for
you too knew it was you.

 

Kingston Minded

Your eyes roll back into a memory,
perhaps of papayas or women.
Something lightens in you
Flickers
Passes
And you’re back in the room staring at your soup.
It’s dribbled onto your napkin, tucked in like a bib
– I think to ask where you were –
It’s mushroom even though you never liked them.
Remember when you fed me bananas mashed with avocado
and told me I had my mother’s hair, and used the spoon to catch what fell on my chin,
look at us now.
Is it hard?
On some days, in some moments when I realise you may never return
yes
Yes
It is hard.
To see you in an M and S dressing gown by a grey window
because I know it’s not what you would have wanted,
Dreaming of women or papayas.
It makes you ask when enough is enough.
I show you photos taking any slight breath off beat as a sign.
I show them of people and places
all that you loved.
One Tuesday you said a name
I didn’t know, but nor did I recognise the face you pointed at.
You said the name, took the photo, held it for the rest of my visit,
but made no further comment.
These moments give something.
To you I am your father, your neighbour, your Aunt, your grandchild, the nurse that works weekends, your friend, people I’ve never heard of, but never your daughter.
How can you mistake me for so many people but me?
It’s okay as goodbyes were said back when the word held meaning;
Now syllables slip over you and from you
as you ferment on breathing.
I preferred it when you used to bite.
I use your name but as a sound rather than someone.
I don’t mean to reduce you
it’s just hard.
You have walked so far –
I keep trying to ask if there is anything you want done, anything you want said
Anything in you, anything.
I keep trying, but it gets to the point when it’s enough.
– you have walked so far out there’s no coming back.
It’s okay.

Time runs upon us.

Seeing you sit there
I smile,
imagine you Kingston minded

sucking papayas and dancing with women.

Like standing in a wet wood. 

Where all your problems

 run off, as you realise you’re as small and

as missable as rain on the leaves. 

Breathing with the dampness 

you feel it’s enough. 

To be here. 

It’s enough. 

And you run,

with the sky drumming above 

Teen Idle

Dusk
Your hand rests on my knee.
You want a word so I
give you one:
Maturity
The span between age and mind.
Laughing you take another
shot.
My space is large, your’s is little
and it ten days I will break up with you for this reason.
Laughing, I take a
shot.
Dusk

AO1 description:
Small breasts and thighs that touch,
short hair, thin hair and a big bum –
it gets pinched on Fridays as
I ferry pints between beards.
Flex the fingers, biro blue.
AO2 evaluate:
At the tipping point between seventeen and
eighteen your life
wobbles in an
envelope.
You can’t cough without anxiety.
Ugly, menstruating, stressed: UMS.

Continue reading “Teen Idle”

Flush


Late last night I wrote a poem,
on a postage stamp by the light of my phone.
In a few short lines
I’d discovered it.
The meaning of it all that is.
The secret.
I tucked it under the pillow, confident
and content.
In the morning there it was,
what I’d been looking for all this time.
Forgetting what I’d written I thought I’d wait, enjoy
it over a brew, teaspoon of sugar –
to celebrate.
Holding it between thumb and finger –
fragile it was –
I walked into the bathroom with it –
to open a window – it had been hot that night.
When I pushed the glass
a trapped pocket of air blew forth in such a way
that it picked up my poem
and dropped it in my loo.
It was the sort of ink that dissolved when wet
so by the time I stared down at it
it had gone.
Two atoms held me in the space:
Perplexed.
And when I moved it was just to flush the loo,
there was nothing else for it.
The energy chuckled
‘You fool’, it whispered.